Note: For this article, the words 'negative', 'negatively', and/or 'negativity', are used to denote something unhealthy and an impediment to one's goals for a relationship.
No matter what type of relationship you’re in, whether it’s intimate or not, whether it’s professional or not, there’s a good chance that, at one point or another, it’s going to get clouded by negativity. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how sophisticated your philosophy is or whether or not you grew up with loving parents in a great relationship, negativity has an opportunity to grow, and ruin, relationships the moment you start putting yourself first.
Each time you put yourself first, rather than helping the other person in the relationship get the most out of their life, you’re creating fertile ground for negative judgments to start to take root. These judgments act like a poison to your relationship, regardless of the specifics of them. Negative judgments, no matter what, carry a negative energy - and that energy has repercussions in the relationship.
Think back to a time when you were in the same room as someone who was critical about you. How did you feel? Even if the person didn’t actually say anything to you, chances are you felt it. Why? Because humans are sensitive. We can feel a lot more than we give ourselves credit for. And, when we don’t understand how sensitive we are, we fail to recognize how much even what we are thinking can impact the people in our lives.
The truth is that, even when you’re just thinking a negative thought about someone, you begin to “broadcast this negativity”, sending non-verbal signals to the other person unconsciously - and that they’ll unconsciously pick up. Because of this, a lot of relationships start to erode, without either person even recognizing what’s happening. Not only does the tone of your voice change when you start thinking negatively, but so do your facial expressions and even how you breathe.
And all of this is poison to your relationship.
To start remedying this poison, you have to first start recognizing these negative thought patterns. Once you start recognizing them, you can implement ways to interrupt them, which is key to saving your relationship. The moment you recognize a negative thought, your goal is to label it for what it is: poison. No matter the thought, whether it’s true or not, if you know that it’s negative then you have to recognize it as poisonous to the health of your relationship.
The problem, of course, is that we enjoy a lot of these negative thoughts. Not only are humans naturally attracted to negativity, but we’ve been culturally indoctrinated to believe that being negative is actually fun. And there’s no real way around either of these things - that’s why so many relationships end.
Regardless of natural inclinations, you have to learn to replace all negative thoughts with positive ones, whether positive images or positive judgments. The best way to do this is to start to recall all of the things you love about the person you’re in a relationship with. These things might be attributes or memories, distant or present. Each time a negative thought enters, you must be diligent to quickly replace it in order to put an end to the toxic poison entering your space.
This process, as effective as it is for healing relationships, is still a process, one that will have to be repeated again and again, sometimes for the entire course of the relationship. Thankfully, the more accustomed you get to identifying poisonous thoughts, the less they’ll come up. With time, you’ll find yourself free from the cycle of negativity and, as a result, the health of your relationship fully restored.